Bazikes! They’re here, although you may not know it. The brain children of Australian Barry Leane, the small figures made out of spare bike parts are appearing quietly around Revelstoke, and if you’re lucky you may just see one.
Since starting his Bazikes six months ago, Leane has created a small army of more than 30 bike-based creatures. Now there’s a Canadian contingent — there are about 10 of these creatures taking up residence in Revelstoke.
PHOTO: From top to bottom: A Bazike skier, a Bazike portrait, and Barry Leane introduces Revelstoke Secondary students to a few characters who were formerly bikes.
While visiting family here, Leane got in touch with Dan Nelson at Flowt Bikes & Skis and with the Revelstoke Secondary School auto shop. With a quick explanation, he was given the run of their spare bike parts.
“It’s an evolution,” said the bike-bits artist. “The challenge is how do you fit the pieces together.”
Leane has set the challenge for himself of not using any welds, only bolts. He himself is surprised by what he makes and what comes out of the creative evolution of each piece. It’s hard not to see them as achievements of a broad imagination: there aren’t many people who could envision bike brake components as a moustache on a French skier.
Inspired by a dog-sledding trip gifted to him and his wife Heather, Leane would like to tackle making a dog team where each animal is similar but still unique.
“It’s not finished until it’s got some sort of character,” Leane said, something that makes it interesting and funny.
Before turning spare parts into little characters, Leane used to chop up bikes with his brother to see what could be made.
“My brother’s a tech studies teacher and he made some unicycles as an exercise for the school kids, and brought one home,” he said.
It was the spark that set off the question, “What can we make?” and started Leane on chopping up bikes, attaching them to skateboards, making swing bikes, and stretching the limits of human-powered cycles. His creative bikery inevitably cropped up again in the form of Bazikes.
Returning to an uncertain economy in Perth, Leane has no plans to chuck his day job just yet. If he’s got a job to return to when he’s back in Australia, that is. If not, he said he’d give making sculptures for a living a go. Why not? It would be a dream come true if he could work with a bike manufacturer and do it professionally, the next step of his creative evolution.